Basically, we've got 2 pretty big gardens - front and back. When we first bought our house, all of both gardens were covered in grass. Then, about 15 years ago my mum decided to get all of the front garden and half of the back garden paved over. So now we should have one half of the back garden covered in concrete slabs, the other half of the back garden in thick lawn grass and all of the front paved over, acting as a driveway.
But the problem is that my mum had such a **** job done in the first place because she got a cheap deal. I'm not exactly sure how it was caused, but I think it's because the builders put soil or sand down over the grass instead of something which should stop weeds growing through between the slabs, like more concrete. So now what we have is very thick, tough weeds and full plants growing up, between the slabs, from the ground underneath. It's so thick that we might as well not have any slabs there at all - both gardens are the same as they were when we first bought the house. Some of the slabs have broken and just peeled away from the ground because the weeds grow so strongly.
Now I would have been fine with this in any other situation and hopefully just put up with it - but I've had enough now. For the last 10 years or so my mum has been forcing me to go out and rip up all the plants with a shovel, and this continues all year round. Any spare time I have, this is what I have to spend it on. It used to be that she would force me to do it during the holidays or around exams. Now, whenever I'm back home from uni for the holidays, one of the first things she makes me do is rip up all the plants - and every day she comes home to immediately complain that I haven't done it well enough. Even in the winter, when the plants don't grow very much, she still blackmails me into doing it. I'm getting quite sick of the fact that I have to take on extra work because she accepted such a **** job from those builders. She is refusing to have it done again, so I've tried myself to get a suitable quote - but she always tries to stop me doing that and says that I have other more important things to do. That's so hypocritical as she says that the garden is one of the most important areas of housekeeping I have to do. I even got as far as having a new, reputable set of builders come and start work - and she turned them away. So I don't know what to do now.
The whole reason she had the paving done in the first place was because we had too many plants growing and blocking light to the house. That means there should be less plants and grass for me to cut, not more. I look at how other people's driveways and gardens are done so nicely, with not a single plant in sight - and I can't help thinking that my mum doesn't realise that this is NOT normal gardening. I have no problem mowing the lawn and looking after our hedges, but I feel miserable and extremely angry that I have to continually rip up these plants when they shouldn't even be there in the first place. What can I do?
Your best option in the short term is to purchase a strimmer if you don't already have one. A bit of skillful use of the strimmer will allow you to rip up most of the weeds in no time at all. Then put down some weedkiller to stop them growing back in 5 minutes.
The only way to stop the problem is to just rip up the whole patio and start again with a decent depth of scalpings and weed barrier material underneath the paving slabs.